Oh my good friends here at JetsNation, how I have missed you.
During the move to a new city (the city of
champions losers), I found myself working mandatory overtime leaving me too exhausted to get internet and TV at my new place. Well, I finally ponied up and accomplished that goal.
Enough about me, how about your Winnipeg Jets??? The team I pegged to draft Connor McDavid is looking like a legitimate threat at taking a Western Conference playoff spot.
To say I was wrong may be an understatement. Let’s look at my early season predictions and do an assessment now…
NO HONOUR FOR CONNOR?
In my “Saying All The Right Things” article from August 29, I discussed my strong belief that the only reason Cheveldayoff still has a job is because he is planning on tanking to find a player like Connor McDavid for this franchise. Here’s my exact quote…
“I haven’t heard a tanking slogan for this year’s upcoming draft, so I took a shot, but it is intriguing to see if the Jets have their sights set on Connor McDavid. The Score’s Justin Bourne wrote a very interesting article stating why he believed that was the plan for the Jets.
In all honesty, that’s the only way the questionable off-season makes sense. Cheveldayoff is apparently not even on the hot seat, and this could have been his master plan all along. Don’t hold your breath though.”
Ahem, Let me digress.
I overlooked the fact that the Jets have been a bubble team and have a strong core of NHL veterans that know what it takes to win. Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd and Michael Frolik are all wear pretty rings on their fingers, and Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little and Tobias Enstrom are strong consistent players that contribute to the team’s success.
The Jets have a winning record of 14-9-4, which pits them one point ahead of the cup winning Los Angeles Kings and in the midst of a wild card playoff spot race. While I don’t expect the Jets to finish higher than the Kings in the standings, I don’t totally expect them to fall off the face of the earth.
WHO IS MICHAEL HUTCHINSON??
When Michael Hutchinson was up for the 2008 draft, I remember reading an article about him on NHL.com, and for some reason I felt he had a shot. (Yes, I believe I have some sort of intuition just from a name and an article. I’m an odd person.)
Hutchinson was drafted in the 3rd round by the Boston Bruins but was put in the backseat the fellow goalie prospects Anton Khudobin and Niklas Svedberg. Hutchinson found himself without a contract and the Jets scooped him up. Hutchinson blossomed overnight and was “fast-tracked” into the NHL.
I thought he looked like an NHL goalie early on in the pre-season but I also felt like it was a risky move going with a struggling starter and un-tested backup. When the Jets acquired Peter Budaj I felt it was a ploy to give Hutchinson more time to develop (not knowing his needed to clear waivers of course).
Here’s where I really went wrong…in my “Jets Acquire Budaj” article I mentioned;
“I watched two rookie games and two preseason games for the Jets, and it became very clear that Michael Hutchinson was not ready to play in the NHL. It was a concern going into the year with an unproven backup behind an unstable starter.
Cheveldayoff finally realized that he needed a better insurance policy, and he found it in Peter Budaj.”
I’ll eat my words because Hutchinson is looking like a viable option at taking a starting job sooner rather than later, while Budaj is winless in 9 games in the AHL.
CAN I REDEEM MYSELF???
Well, with a terrible start, i’m ready to try and redeem myself. Here’s a few predictions for the rest of way.
-Ondrej Pavalec may be off to one of the better starts of any NHL season, but I don’t think he’ll be able to hold Hutchinson off for the remainder of the season. When the games get more important, Hutchinson will see the bulk of the starts.
-Mathieu Perreault starts producing at more than a career average rate, reaching 50 points before the season ends.
-The Jets go on a rapid win streak heading into the all-star break making Jets fans get overly excited thinking the playoff drought ends here. The Jets end up falling just short of a playoff spot. Sorry.